What will you do with your suffering?

Categorized as Rhonda's Posts

It came to me, as many things do, in morning’s sweet solitude on the *BOS. To the east, the sky was lightening, sun’s gentle curve barely breaking the horizon. From unseen mud-and-twig constructions, local birds were, too, awak’ning, and they sang a happy welcome to the light.

“What have you done with your suffering?”

The mug in my mittened hands is warm. Caramel-scented joy swirls upward in ephemeral vapor-ribbons on the air, then fades away. Mercies all new, soul’s been kept, and I’m alive.

“What have you done with your suffering?”

We know, you and I, that it’s not a matter of IF we will suffer. It’s a matter of when, and of how.

Oh, I know. When suffering comes, we go straight to the WHY, and we spend days, months, and years on that question, demanding answers, soul tormented, time a-wasting. And all the while, perhaps the better question, the one with greatest import is this, “What will you do with your suffering?”

What I’m thinking on today is this, that suffering will come, and I will do something with it. Human beings will hurt me. They will leave. Sickness will come, or poverty or loss or disappointment. It will, and I will do something with it.

I will choose.

Either I will choose to fight it. To lash out and swear revenge on the ones through whom it came. I can turn to self-pity, and slowly, slowly, one thought at a time, I will become a victim. With no power, no choice, no alternatives, full of “bitter.”

If I choose rage and bitterness because of my suffering, my spiritual heart will harden just as surely as my physical one will with year after year of mishandling. Hard hearted, unforgiving, small and stunted, every choice just one step further from the Father.  Step, step, step, and there’s a chasm.

Or. Blessed “or!”

Or I will choose to let suffering do its work. I will allow Pain to become my friend. I will choose to follow Christ through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, for that brings healing. Brings life.

I will choose to forgive. I’ll choose to trust. I will accept my weakness and be filled with His strength. Never powerless, free to make choices, so many opportunities to grow. To find new freedom. With a trusting, forgiving, accepting heart, I will be able to love without restrictions. And Life (capital ‘L’) flows through my veins. I’m very fruitful, and with every choice, I’m one step closer to the Father.

Step, step, step, no division.

Here’s the bottom line (and I wish I could shout this to underscore its vast importance). What you and I choose to do with our suffering will affect not just ourselves, but everyone around us. Future generations will be influenced by what we do with it.

“Hurt people, hurt people.” I don’t know who said it, but it’s absolutely true. And when that hurt travels, unchecked, through generation after generation, it will mutate and become something very, very ugly and dark, much worse than when it began.

On the other hand, if we choose to embrace our suffering, to let it take us by the hand and lead us further into Him, future generations will be impacted by the fruit of righteousness from our lives. We can influence the course of posterity. Oh, imagine! Even now, I can feel fresh hope and determination welling up.

How we handle our suffering will be a blessing or a curse. It will bring life or death to those around us. It matters.

So, my friend. What will YOU do with your suffering?

*BOS – Bright Orange Swing

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